Many tourists head to Naples solely for the world-renowned pizza and while it’s entirely possible to eat three portions a day of crispy yet chewy dough, topped with the freshest Italian tomatoes and creamy mozzarella, it’s probably not the healthiest idea. So where’s good to go to at least start the day right? Check out these brunch and breakfast spots for starters.
Dessert Shop, Pastelaria, Italian, Dessert, $$$
Il Ministeriale is the specialty of Scaturchio | Courtesy of Scaturchio
Satisfying the sweet tooth of Naples since 1905, Scaturchio is thought to be the city’s oldest pasticceria. Come here for traditional Neapolitan pastries handmade on site – the pastiera, a sweet ricotta tart flavoured with orange flower water is still made to the original recipe that dates back over 100 years. The specialty though is the Ministeriale, a dark chocolate disk with a liqueur-filled centre that simply isn’t found anywhere else.
With comfy leather sofas, exposed brickwork and handwritten blackboard signs, Stairs Coffee Shop is a modern, vintage-inspired café that while ubiquitous in other countries makes for a pleasant change in Italy. On the menu are loose-leaf teas, hot chocolate and coffee enhanced with syrups, whipped cream and other extras that would make espresso purists wince. Go wild and enjoy with a slice of rainbow layer cake or New York cheesecake.
Part bakery, part elegant bistro, Soulcrumbs takes inspiration from North European cuisine and aims to provide a menu of sustainable, creative and informal cooking. The sleek Scandinavian design is also apparent in the beautiful décor choices too. While breakfast – think speciality coffee, wholewheat croissants and sourdough toast – runs from 7.30am to midday, a special sweet and savoury brunch runs on Saturdays from 12.30 to 3.30pm.
Bakery, North American, Dessert, Pastries, American, $$$
When a craving strikes for thick, fluffy pancakes or toast piled high with jam and butter, head to Birdy’s Bakery in the centre of town. This bright and airy locale is unapologetically American inspired – as seen by the presence of a cheeseburger among the cooked breakfast of bacon, egg, hash browns and beans – and serves up a mix of savory and sweet options just not found in a traditional Italian breakfast bar.
If all that pizza and pasta is beginning to feel a little excessive, head to Cambiovita for an organic breakfast – they also do light lunchs and virtuous dinner options. Start the day with a freshly squeezed juice blend such as the invigorating orange, apple, celery and ginger, with a slice of homemade kamut or buckwheat-flour cake on the side. As well as dishing up quality homemade plates, Cambiovita also sells a range of organic, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan products to take home.
It might look like a pharmacy (and indeed part of the store is) but Healthy also features a bio bar, making it a great spot to come for a healthy and tasty breakfast. Those interested in learning more about food therapy can speak to a nutritionist in store, otherwise choose from organic fresh juices, smoothies and sweet breakfast options like vegan chocolate tart made with avocado and coconut. Brunch is Italian-style with savoury plates like wholegrain rice salads and grilled veggies on offer.
A tourist destination in its own right, Gran Caffè Gambrinus is a grandiose coffee shop once frequented by stars such as Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway. Prices are higher than the average bar, but it’s worth it for the setting alone – glittering chandeliers hang from the ceiling while artworks from the Belle Epoque line the walls. Try the classic Neapolitan breakfast – bitter espresso and a rich, buttery sfogliatella pastry.
For breakfast with a view head to Il Chicco d’Oro – it’s situated directly in front of the imposing 13th-century Castel Nuovo. Inside, the atmosphere is cosy and friendly, even if the choice of décor is a little wacky – think wicker basket lampshades and clothes pegged up on a washing line. The breakfast menu is strictly traditional though; choose from a range of pastries including cornetti, brioche and sfogliatella. As well as the more common sfogliatella made with layers of crispy pastry (similar to filo), Il Chicco d’Oro also serves up a traditional version made with shortcrust pastry.
Situated close to a university building, Sbuccia e Bevi is a popular choice among Napoli’s student population. The place itself might be small but there are plenty of vegan dishes to choose from throughout the day. Quinoa salads, vegetable-packed pastas and veggie burgers make great lunch options, while fresh fruit salads, smoothies, juices and homemade sweet treats are ideal for a cheering breakfast.